The Prime Minister has announced plans to double free childcare for working parents. The Government is set to increase the amount of childcare available to 3 and 4 year olds of working families during term-time to 30 hours a week. This includes the 15 hours currently available as well as an additional 15 hours per week. The extended hours were originally planned to start in September 2017 but will now be piloted from September 2016 in some areas.
The childcare will be worth around £5,000 a year to around 600,000 families. This includes the £2,500 of free childcare already available to parents. The childcare will be available to all families where both parents work (including those that work part time) and will be in addition to existing entitlements such as tax free childcare and universal credit.
The Government also announced plans to increase the funding paid to childcare providers offering their services for free. A new Government taskforce will be established to ensure that working families benefit as soon as possible from the change. The taskforce will be headed by the new Minister of State for Employment, Priti Patel.
The Prime Minister David Cameron said:
'My message is clear. This Government is on the side of working people – helping them get on and supporting them at every stage of life.
That is exactly why we are pressing ahead with these reforms - so that not a moment is lost in getting on with the task - going further than ever before to help with childcare costs, helping hardworking families and giving people the opportunity to get into work.
The Government will need to work hard to ensure that childcare providers are paid enough to offer high quality care for children across the country.'